April 1, 2009 / 3:52 PM / 10 years ago

Italian "prince" considers run for EU parliament

MILAN (Reuters Life!) - The grandson of Italy’s last king said on Wednesday he was considering standing for election to the European Parliament later this year.

Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy poses in Milan March 13, 2008. REUTERS/Daniele La Monaca

“I think a lot of the European Parliament ... we will see,” said Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, whose grandfather Umberto II left Italy in 1946, when Italians voted to expel the Savoys because of their support for Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

The 36-year-old Savoy prince is a fixture of the European glossy gossip magazines and won a television dance championship in March in partnership with a professional dancer in Italy’s version of Dancing with the Stars.

The Savoy family ruled Italy from the unification of the country in 1861 until it became a republic after World War Two. They were allowed to return in 2003 after 57 years of exile.

Asked if he would try to win a seat in the European Parliament this year, he told reporters: “I don’t know. I need to take time to decide. Certainly as I have always said I want to make myself useful to this country, this Italy.”

He was speaking after a presentation for an exhibition of family paintings and memorabilia to start in July in the northeast mountain resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo.

He said he would decide by the end of April but does not yet know which party he would link up with, though he said he was center-right politically.

“I have a big respect for Silvio Berlusconi,” Italy’s center-right prime minister, he said.

On Wednesday, dressed in a pinstripe suit over a dark blue polo neck sweater, the unshaven prince said he was just like other people.

“We are very simple (people) like all the others in Dancing with the Stars,” he said.

The exhibition shows the Savoy as a family not a royal “house,” he said.

The exhibition will include ceremonial jewelry, paintings and military items and is due to travel across Italy from Cortina before reaching Rome in 2011 as part of celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.

Writing by Nigel Tutt, editing by Paul Casciato

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